Fresno Pacific University
Fresno pacific log.png
MottoFounded on Christ
TypeLiberal Arts
AffiliationMennonite Brethren Church
PresidentDr. Joseph Jones
Academic staff
United States

36°43′34″N 119°44′05″W / 36.7260°N 119.7348°W / 36.7260; -119.7348Coordinates: 36°43′34″N 119°44′05″W / 36.7260°N 119.7348°W / 36.7260; -119.7348
Campus42 acres (17 ha), 16 buildings
ColorsBlue and Orange
NicknameFresno Pacific Sunbirds
Sporting affiliations
Pacific West Conference NCAA Division II (2012–present)
NAIA (1986–2012)

Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a Christian university in Fresno, California.[1] It was founded as the Pacific Bible Institute in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. The university awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965.[2] The first master's degree program was introduced in 1975.[2]


At the time of its founding, Pacific Bible Institute was located in a large home at 1095 N. Van Ness Ave. There were five staff members and twenty-eight students. By the time the first school year was finished, a former YWCA building at the corner of Tuolumne and L streets (originally designed by Julia Morgan) had been purchased, and the next school year began in this building.

By 1958, land was purchased for the construction of the current campus near the corner of Butler and Chestnut, along with the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary and the new Butler Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church. Construction began on a new classroom building that year, and two dormitory buildings one year later. The classroom building was ready for use in the fall of 1959, but the dorm buildings were not completed until 1961 because of financial difficulties.

The Bible Institute became an accredited junior college in 1961, and decided to develop a four-year program two years later, in 1963. In 1964, Pacific Bible Institute changed its name to Pacific College, and became accredited with the WASC the next year. By 1967, the decision was made to add graduate courses, and the accreditation for the first master of arts program was received from WASC in 1975. The college changed its name to Fresno Pacific College in 1976 and to Fresno Pacific University in 1997.

In 2010 the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary became a part of the university, and changed its name to Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary.

The university was granted an exception to Title IX in 2015 which allows it to legally discriminate against LGBT students.[3] Same-sex sexual activity by students is considered grounds for removal from campus. The school considers gay marriage to be anti-Christian.[4]

Chief executives



Fresno Pacific offers bachelor's degrees in more than 40 fields with over 100 areas of study. It also offers advanced degrees or credentials in four areas: Education, Individualized Master of Arts, MBA, Leadership & Organizational Studies and Peacemaking & Conflict Studies. The university is organized into five schools: The School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences; the School of Natural Sciences; and the School of Biblical Seminary. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report college rankings, Fresno Pacific's peer assessment score tied it for 18th in the Western United States in the Universities-Master's category. Fresno Pacific is accredited through the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Graduation guarantee

McDonald Hall
McDonald Hall

In February 2009 Fresno Pacific University began offering a "Four Year Graduation Guarantee."[5] FPU already has the highest four-year graduation rate in the Central Valley, with 60 percent of traditional undergraduate students already graduating in four years, compared to 12–15 percent in the CSU system.

The university will guarantee graduation within four years to qualified students entering the traditional undergraduate program. The guarantee is limited to basic graduation requirements for a single major with no minor. Transfer, degree completion and graduate students are not part of the guarantee.

Student responsibilities include:


Fresno Pacific University's main 50-acre campus is located in the south east area of Fresno, hub of the Central Valley region of California and the fifth largest city in the state.

The university also maintains four regional campuses in Central California:


Hiebert Library
Hiebert Library
McDonald Hall
McDonald Hall
AIMS Hall, Mathematics and Science
AIMS Hall, Mathematics and Science
Completed Name Information
1958 Sattler Hall Named for early Anabaptist leader Michael Sattler in 1973.
1961 Krause Hall Named for Arthur and Lydia Krause in 1990. Further units added to in 1962.
Nachtigall Hall Named for Ben W. and Anna Marie Nachtigall in 1989. Further units added in 1962.
Schlichting Hall Named for Marvin and Loree Schlichting in 1994. Further units added in 1962.
Warkentine Hall Named for Al and Dotty Warkentine in 1989. Further units added in 1962.
1962 Hiebert Library Named for Cornelius and Elizabeth Hiebert, the primary contributors.
1964 Alumni Hall Building costs were mostly covered by alumni (renovated 2005).
1966 Marpeck Center Named for early Anabaptist leader Pilgram Marpeck in 1973.
1968 Kriegbaum Hall Part of Witmarsum Quad, renamed for former college president Richard Kriegbaum.
Witmarsum Quad Named for the village of Witmarsum, birthplace of Menno Simons, in 1973.
1971 Strasbourg Hall Named for the city of Strasbourg, where early Anabaptists often sought refuge, in 1973.
1981 Special Events Center
1986 Bartsch Hall Named for Silas Bartsch and his wife Nadine Bartsch.[1][6] Silas was an administrator and former interim president.[7] The building was an existing residence which was purchased and remodeled.
1990 Wiebe Education Center Named for Arthur and Evelyn Wiebe. Arthur was a former president and member of the faculty, as well as the president of the AIMS Foundation, which provided a large portion of the funding.
1992 McDonald Hall Named for Arthur and Barbara McDonald, contributors and co-chairs of the fundraising campaign.
1998 Jost Hall Formerly known as East Hall, changed in 2017 to current name.
2002 AIMS Hall Named for The AIMS Foundation, which provided a large portion of the funding by means of a grant.
2003 Steinert Campus Center Named for Marvin and Nadine Steinert, primary contributors.
2010 Seminary House Previously the administration building of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, which became a part of the university in 2010.
2010 North Hall Previously a classroom, student center, and office building of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary.


Main article: Fresno Pacific Sunbirds

The Fresno Pacific Sunbirds compete in the Pacific West Conference of the NCAA Division II.[8] The university sponsors 16 intercollegiate sports, eight each for men and women:


The athletics mascot is Sunny the Sunbird. Sunny is a much loved figure in the campus community.



Notable alumni



  1. ^ a b Enns-Rempel, Kevin; Keeney, Hannah (2020). "Fresno Pacific University: The first 75 years". Arcadia Publishing. pp. 90, 84. ISBN 9781467104593. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  2. ^ a b Peters, George W and Richard D. Thiessen (July 2008). "Fresno Pacific University (Fresno, California, USA)". Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  3. ^ "Worst List: The Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBTQ Youth". Campus Pride. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  4. ^ George, Carmen (September 12, 2015). "Fresno Pacific president's statement about gay marriage causes strong reactions". Fresno Bee. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  5. ^ "Four Year Guarantee". Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
  6. ^ Wiebe, Arthur J. (2010). "Education and entrepreneurship: a personal journey" (PDF). 39 (1). Direction: 93. Retrieved 2021-01-22. Silas Bartsch resigned as Superintendent of Kings River Unified School District to launch our professional development program. While its mission was to improve education in Valley schools, it also generated income that helped fund undergraduate education. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Steffen, Wayne (2001-10-25). "Silas Bartsch lived his passion for service, innovation and education". University News (FPU). Retrieved 2021-01-22. Wiebe remembered the telephone call where Bartsch offered, not just to serve on a board or advisory committee as Wiebe had thought, but to leave his post as superintendent of Kings Canyon Unified School District to teach at FPU.
  8. ^ Staff (June 1, 2011). "Sunbirds accept PacWest invite". The Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011.